Samstag, 27. Oktober 2012

Some Data Visualization

My friend Johanna asked me to help her figure out how to visualize some data she was working with.

(Maybe I can get her to update this blog with some actual information on the Data. My Estonian is about as good as my Esperanto or my Inuit, so I know what the labels on the data say, but well. Not what they mean)

She gave me a list of buildings of a district of Talinn. Each building had two datapoints: a) it was classified according to some (to me completely mystical) Estonian system and b) the year it was built in. My first thought was to just to give each classification a value and create a scatter plot:

This initially seemed quite useful. You can see which classifications concern newer buildings, which ones concern older buildings. You can see that very few - well actually, no buildings at all where built after 1940 and before 1945. However, I did not feel like one sees the entire picture. So I decided to add some jitter. Once I saw the result, I decided to add a whole lot more jitter. This is the graph I came up with:

Here we can see a whole lot more detail. For example the third, fourth and fifth category from the top looked fairly similar around the year 200 in the first graph. Here we see that there is actually a lot more going on. I still was not quite satisfied, so I considered it a programming challange and tried to see what I could come up with using processing.

I would have never anticipated the huge spike in the first classification just by looking at the chart I had previously made. I'm not quite sure if the mirrored thing is so smart, as it might make the differences between a large and a small number of occurrences appear to be smaller then it is... still, I think its a pretty graph.

Here is (some of) the code I used:
("some of" because estonian seems to break snippler which I use for the code formatting)

Finally, this is what happened, when i did not use pushMatrix() and popMatrix() correctly. I think its quite a beautiful result:

Dienstag, 2. Oktober 2012

How you can help my Kickstarter campaign

Three things you can do:

- If you could publicly back me, by contributing 1$ that would be A-M-A-Z-I-N-G. I know many of you don't have any more extra money to spare than I do, however, this 1$ means a lot. It shows the world that you are publicly supporting me. Not only by sharing a link, but by contributing what (sadly) seems to be the one thing which counts in this world: $$$. Depending on where I go with this project, demonstrating that I have a broad supporter base may be extremely valuable to me.

- Please criticize what I am doing. Please find the flaws in my reasoning, the fallacies of my ideas. I will post them on the kickstarter page in order to start a discussion, to start discourse. I will learn from your criticism and other will learn from it. There is so much valid criticism to what I do... lots of my ideas are very problematic. I want people to point this out so it can be discussed and analyzed. Science is negotiation, our future is negotiation. The more standpoints we find, the richer my project can become.

- Finally, please share what I am doing. If you know somebody who is interested in this type of thing - tell them about my project. 

Prototype for my Kickstarter Campaign

Hi Everyone

as you might or might not know, I recently launched a kickstarter campaign in order to collect funding for my bachelor thesis. 

Check it out:

The money will go towards the hardware I require for running my experiment. Part of the hardware will be a humanoid robot with 4 DOF. In the following video you can see a rough prototype of the head, which will be the most complex moving part of the robot:

(I had to add music, as my flatmates complained that they did not want to be heard talking in the background. I find Estonian makes for beautiful background sounds... but then again - I have no idea what they where saying :-D....)

I built these prototypes with parts I had around the house. The brackets where freebies which I was presented with by John Iovine from Images Scientific Instruments quite some time ago. (Thanks again, btw!...) 

Here are some pictures of the process:
... the servos and the brackets which I used for mounting them. I'm just getting started.

Continuing to assemble things...

The servos did not hold as tight as I wanted them to - in order to give the whole thing some additional strength I cut thin strips of thermoplastic, heated it up and then wrapped it tightly around the joint. I like this way of attaching things as its quite effortless but super, super stable.

 You also see that I used thermoplastic as shims (or washers? don't know that word. hat to google it). The screws I use are so tiny that finding fitting ones is quite a task - this is again, easyer and better.

Chassis is finished, and firmly mounted on two bottles filled with water for stability:


Anyway thats it for now. Lets see how this whole Kickstarter thing goes :-)